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Just you wait! I'm a minor god with neither name nor abode, but someday I'll hit it big and have a lavish shrine of my own!
~ Yato

Yato, originally called Yaboku, is the main protagonist of the anime/manga series Noragami, and the 'stray god' of the title. He is a minor god who desires one day to be worshipped by the masses. To achieve this, he works as a delivery god, taking whatever job people give him for 5 yen. Despite coming across as lazy, selfish, greedy and an outright pervert most of the time, deep down inside his soul lies a very tragic, remorseful figure. As a god of war born from a wish, he killed many people in his past (including many Regalias) and eventually became sick of it and now desires to leave that past behind.

He is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya in the Japanese version of the anime and Jason Liebrecht in the English version, the latter of whom also voices Hei, Syaoran and Lavi.

Appearance

You're wearing a tracksuit and a weird bib around your neck. That isn't really an awe-inspiring outfit.
~ Hiyori Iki commenting on Yato's clothes
Yato appears to be a young man, with shaggy black hair that reaches to his neck, and bright, striking blue eyes. He is often seen wearing a sweater jersey and track pants, and an old white bandana/cloth around his neck, which he describes as 'fluffy fluff' (fuwa fuwa). He also wears a pair of brown knee-length boots.

When imagining his future as a popular god, Yato wears a red cape and a golden crown, and is often seen with a pink fan within his imagination.

In the distant past, Yato tied his hair up to a short ponytail and wore a dark kimono.

In Chapter 39, Yato has bought a new jersey that has the same design which was bought thanks to Kazuma's money. In Chapter 40, Yato ties his hair like in the past and is wearing his new jersey.

Personality

Even if things are painful and tough, people should appreciate what it means to be alive at all.
~ Yato stating his opinion on suicide
Yato is often very playful and sneaky, doing silly and childish things such as buying good luck items that are obviously a scam, giving Yukine a childish jacket and other things. He is very determined to become more popular as a god, often either placing his cell phone number everywhere or doing a job. However, he also slacks off occasionally and is shown to be very careless with his money, such as when he threw away 200,000 yen on a plastic good-luck charm.

There are also times, however, when Yato appears very serious and mysterious, like when he meets with Nora or other certain situations. Yato can be crude and unpredictable, although it is hinted that he can also be a cruel and merciless person. These actions might have been motivated by his need to at least exist in people's memories. He answers people's prayers and demands money in return for his help (5 yen, the amount that is traditionally placed in a shrine before praying). He graffitis his cellphone number in various places, but it only appears to people who are in desperate need of his aid. As egotistical as he can be at times, Yato has shown he has a good heart as early as the beginning of the series, when he willingly released Mayu from her service instead of forcing her to stay with him or even become a Nora.

Yato views gods, himself included, as above such things as good and evil, and therefore is convinced they can do no wrong. He uses this belief as a way to explain why Regalias sting their masters, but not the other way round; Regalias were once humans, and therefore sin, but gods are higher beings, and therefore can do whatever they want. He also uses this to counter Kugaha's argument that Bishamon has become weak due to taking any spirit she finds as her Regalia, and compares his attempts to force her succession to a spoiled child trying to kill his parents. Despite his words, however, Yato has shown that there are lines he's not willing to cross; when Hiyori suspects that he robbed a bank when she sees him with a huge amount of money (that he got from Ebisu to build his shrine) Yato is actually offended, asking her what she takes him for.

Yato is seen to have a very low tolerance for weak spirited people, and if they want to commit suicide he has little motivation to help them. This is mostly because Regalias like Yukine did not experience a full human life, and because they've died from an accident, killing them at a young state. This low tolerance usually causes those around him to become upset. Yato also appears very materialistic when it comes to money, when Hiyori mentions her job request he claims he'll definitely do it because he intends to keep her money and holds his bottle full of coins. Yato will often indulge in fantasies of himself being a very successful god with more followers than any other god and lots of shrine maidens at his fingertips. Despite his aloof and often idiotic personality, Yato is a god that is seen to be quite wise and very serious when the situations requires it.

It is shown that in the past, when he was more like a god of calamity (Magatsukami) than he is now, he seems to have a much more serious, merciless and cruel personality. However, his personality changed for the better through Sakura's influence. He also used to be much stronger in the past, according to Rabō. In Chapter 40, Fujisaki Kouto revealed that Yato is a "God of Depravity," meaning that Yato only knows how to steal and not to give, and that those people around him will suffer terribly.

Yato has expressed in Chapter 52 that his greatest wish is to simply be besides Yukine and Hiyori but understands that his Father will do whatever he can to prevent that. This shows that Yato's true desire may not simply be in being remembered and a God of Fortune but also to be with the ones he loves and to make them happy. In fact, he does show a great loyalty towards those he loves and cares for. He was angered when Hiyori was kidnapped and believed Bishamon to be behind it, to the point where he challenged her and was devastated when Yukine sacrificed himself to save Yato from Bishamon (though Yukine survived and became a hafuri vessel because of his sacrifice). He also cried when Ebisu, who acknowledged him as a God capable of making others happy, died and reincarnated and apologized sincerely to the reincarnated Ebisu, despite Ebisu saying he did nothing wrong. In fact, he cares so much for Yukine and Hiyori that he refused to tell them about his past and more about himself, including his real name, for fear that if he did they would hate and abandon him, especially since he is a god that is easily forgotten by others and, as Father has stated, has always been abandoned because he is a God of Calamity. This caused some strain on his relationship with Yukine since Yukine at times felt inferior to Nora, though Yato alleviates these fears when he releases Nora and tells Yukine to be his guidepost and light the way for him.

Skills & Abilities

  • Rend (Zan): Using his Shinki, Yato is able to use this ability to exorcise and destroy Ayakashis. This ability is first seen when Yato uses Tomone to destroy the Ayakashi outside Mutsumi's school.
  • Master Swordsman: Since Yato is a God of War he is very skilled in the art of combat, such as swordsmanship.This is clearly proven when he has fought against Takemikazuchi (who is known for his amazing skills in combat), and won, as shown in chapter 67 of the manga.
  • Severance (Zetsu): Yato, using his Shinki, has the ability to sever the ties of people, be it with other humans, gods, or specific memories in general. It has been implied that he specializes in this ability.
  • Teleportation: Yato is able to teleport to any location he has an active connection to. If he is currently on the phone with someone, he is able to teleport to the caller's location. Also, once he has his own shrine, his shrine's connection to Heaven allows him to teleport there freely. This ability is used by Yato in order to get from job to job more quickly. He has also used this ability to reach Hiyori quickly when she calls him. Three notable examples of this ability are when she expresses her doubt of his godhood, when she claims to have found a Shinki for him, and when she calls during the attack on Iki General Hospital.
  • Divine Possession: Yato is capable of controlling human body by temporarily substituting/taking over the soul. As possession is performed one could catch sight of two visual notable changes: the possessed person will have little golden crown sitting on his/her head and Yato's eyes.

Trivia

  • Yato shares many similarities with Inuyasha:
    • Both are the male leads and title characters of their respective franchises.
    • Both are outcasts in their respective worlds (Yato is looked down upon by other gods and Regalias alike for not having a shrine, while Inuyasha is feared by humans and hated by demons for being a half-demon).
    • Both have a desire to be accepted (though Inuyasha is too stubborn to admit this).
    • Both wield sentient swords (Yukine and the Tessaiga, respectively).
    • Both are much older than they look (Yato is at least 1000 years old despite looking like a young man, while Inuyasha is over 200 despite having the appearance of a teenager).
    • Both share many personality traits- they're selfish, greedy and often apathetic towards people's suffering, but despite their words, do the right thing more often than not.
    • Both fall in love with a human girl (Hiyori Iki and Kagome Higurashi, respectively).
    • In an interesting state of reversal, however, while Inuyasha is able to recognise Kagome by her scent, Hiyori is able to recognise Yato by his, albeit only in her half-Phantom form. In both cases, they often say they really like it.
  • He also has similarities to Himura Kenshin, both being former assassins who killed many people in their past and now desire to leave that past behind by helping people as wandering warriors. Both are also strongly against suicide, though Yato is far more blunt about it.

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